Age range: First grade – fifth grade
Our Classroom Intentions:
Dedication to working with classmates, learning from each other, building friendships and having fun are all points of focus in the School Age classroom. We believe that our students have a wealth of ideas, knowledge and creativity to be shared. Through provocation of exciting materials and projects, our intention is to provide opportunities to develop, explore and cultivate our interests while building positive relationships with one another.
Position: Lead School-age Teacher
Experience in Education: 9 years teaching in preschool/afterschool programs, 4 years teaching in the 4J School District, undergrad and Masters in Elementary Education from UO
I started working with children shortly after high school through a YWCA childcare center in my hometown of Walla Walla, WA. The children’s desire to play and explore, the relationships I built with kids and their families, and the overall importance of the work caused me to fall in love with the job. When I moved to Portland I wanted to continue working with children and was hired as a teacher in the preschool class at La Petite Academy. After a few months I transferred to the school-age classroom to fill a teacher vacancy. That changed everything. So contagious was the school-age students’ energy, love of fun and silly humor. Their desire to create imaginative songs, dances, games, buildings, artwork and everything in between was relentless. They loved learning, sharing ideas, and talking about their lives. Above all, the priority they placed on building meaningful and lasting relationships was inspiring. I knew at that point I was interested in turning my job into a career.
I moved down to Eugene to acquire my undergrad and Masters in Elementary Education at UO. After college, I worked as a substitute in the 4J District for a year before being hired as a regular teacher at Eastside Elementary. Eastside merged with Harris to become Camas Ridge and I remained for 2 more years until becoming one of the district lay-offs due to budget cuts.
I’d heard about the Family Center for years from my wife and step-daughter, a Co-op alumnus, and felt fortunate to learn of an opening in the school-age program. I quickly found that the Reggio Emilia approach of student-driven provocations and constructivist learning put a voice to philosophies I had long-since felt. It’s thrilling to have found a home here at the Co-op where the teachers place as much emphasis on building positive relationships and learning through play as is inherent in children.
Through positive interactions, interesting materials and provocations, and a commitment to energy and fun, I work to create a classroom environment that feels welcoming and exciting. I want students in my class to feel physically and emotionally safe, accepted in the class, free to explore their interests, and safe to make mistakes. Above all, I want each student in my class to know that he or she is an important part of the classroom community. Students should feel like others are happy to see them arrive, and sad to see them go. By helping foster this positive relationship between students and the classroom community, it is my intention that students will develop a positive relationship between themselves and school. I want to create a sense that school is a fun place where each student can feel successful.
It is also my belief that the most significant lessons learned at school don’t come from teachers, but from within the students themselves and their peers. My job is to help inspire wonder about the world, empower students to understand the importance of their own ideas, and help facilitate activities and discussions that allow them to learn from one another and their experiences.